Heineken & former workers in Democratic Republic of Congo reach agreement on labour rights dispute through OECD complaint mechanism
In October 2015, 168 workers previously employed by Heineken's Congolese subsidiary, Bralima, filed a complaint with Dutch National Contact Point (NCP) alleging unlawful dismissals from 1999 – 2003. Complainants alleged that Bralima collaborated with the rebel movement RCD-GOMA, instead of obtaining authorisation from the DRC Ministry of Labour to proceed with massive dismissals for economic reasons. A confidential agreement was reached following the mediation process facilitated by the Dutch NCP. All parties indicate that they are satisfied with the confidential agreement, which includes recommendations to Heineken & monetary compensation for workers. While the agreement is confidential, one Dutch news source reported that the compensation for former workers totals €1.1 million.
All components of this story
Historic agreement between Heineken and former Congolese workers seeking remedy in labour rights dispute
Author: Joseph Wilde-Ramsing, SOMO
Heineken and factory workers previously employed by Heineken's Congolese subsidiary, Bralima, have reached an agreement after 168 of the workers filed a complaint against the Dutch beer brewer for abuses of the workers' rights. The complaint alleged Heineken had breached human rights standards outlined in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and sought remedy in the form of monetary compensation. Details of the agreement, which was facilitated by the Dutch National Contact Point (NCP), are to remain confidential, but all parties describe the outcome as satisfactory... "This result is historic because agreements in OECD Guidelines complaints seeking remedy are rare,” explained Joseph Wilde-Ramsing, Coordinator of OECD Watch.... "This case reveals the potential of NCPs to provide effective access to remedy and help resolve disputes between companies and communities if NCPs are adequately resourced and backed by sufficient political will.”... As part of the agreement, Heineken has committed to improving its policy and practices on doing business in volatile and conflict-affected countries. An evaluation of the implementation of the agreement will be conducted in mid-2018.
Author: OECD Watch
"Former employees vs. Heineken," 18 August 2017
...On 18 August 2017, the Dutch NCP issued its Final Statement announcing that the two parties had reached a positive agreement that was satisfactory to both parties, but that the parties wished to keep the content of the agreement confidential. However, according to a news story published on the same day by Olivier van Beemen in NRC.NL entitled “Heineken betaalt Congolezen na klacht mensenrechtenschending”, a payment of €1.1 million was provided to the former employees by Heineken. The monetary compensation that resulted from this NCP complaint sets historic precedent. The Final Statement also provides further forward looking recommendations for Heineken, in terms of monitoring and evaluating the handling of current or former employee’ complaints, while also continuing to monitor and improve its business conduct code and actively disseminate the principles throughout the Heineken Group. Finally, the Dutch NCP recommends that an evaluation be conducted in the summer of 2018...